Updated: Oct 15, 2020
For united states citizens we are able to obtain a thirty day visa for Vietnam.
Also, don't forget to double check the weather before booking your ticket.
This is the route we took to explore Vietnam. We flew in from Taiwan and landed in Hanoi. For more information about Vietnam, here's our other travel Vietnam article.
Here's the route in more detail
5 days in Hanoi
3 days in Bai Tu Long Bay
Hanoi → Bai Tu Long Bay (Ha Long Bay)
Swan Cruises, booked a 3 day 2 night cruise by local travel agent in Hanoi (Lily's Travel Agency). The cruise included transportation from Hanoi to Bai Tu Long Bay via shuttle.
3 days in Sapa
Bai Tu Long Bay → Sapa
Overnight sleeper bus (Inter bus), arranged by local travel agent in Hanoi. Don't expect luxury from the sleeper buses in Vietnam, we barely got any sleep on the ride up to Sapa. The bus back to Hanoi was also booked via the local travel agent.
2 days in Hue
Sapa → Hue
Overnight bus, very long bus ride (long bus rides usually have a toilet on board). Some overnight bus rides will make a pit stop at a large complex that has food, souvenirs, and bathrooms. This bus was arranged by local travel agent.
2 day in Da Nang
Hue → Da Nang
Open bus ticket (Queen cafe open bus). We bought a booklet of open bus tickets for the rest of our stops (~$42 for two people). This allowed us a more flexible schedule in case we wanted to stay in a city longer or shorter. Before leaving Hanoi we bought the open bus ticket booklet from the same travel agent.
2 days in Hoi An
Da Nang → Hoi An
Open bus ticket. At the least, one day before you intend to leave, visit the open bus ticket office, let them know when you are leaving, and the staff there will make the reservation for you. Each city will have a bus office, and a bunch of travelers waiting outside.
2 days in Nha Trang
Hoi An → Nha Trang
Open bus ticket. Always double check the time the bus leaves, there is a set schedule. Sometimes we woulnd't have to wait long after we checked out from our accommodation, other times we would have hours to kill, leaving us with some extra time to explore the city more.
2 days in Mui Ne
Nha Trang → Mui Ne
Open bus ticket. Queen cafe is a great example of, you get what you pay for. It is a very affordable way to travel Vietnam, and one great experience to tell your friends!
2 days in Ho Chi Minh City
Mui Ne → Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Open bus ticket.
Ho Chi Minh City → Moc Bai / Bavet border crossing into Cambodia.
Giant Ibis bus company. Ticket purchased online ($19.00/person).
There are many other ways to travel across Vietnam. The open bus was our choice because it was the most budget friendly.
Other ways to commute across Vietnam: Train, Airplane, Taxi, Car, Motorcycle (which we want to do when we go back!), boat, and bicycle.